Released this month by Lionsgate Films, American Assassin is an action thriller based upon the 2010 novel of the same name by Vince Flynn.
The cast boasts some well known names such as Michael Keaton and Taylor Kitsch, however I will readily admit that my interest in this film was first sparked by the involvement of Teen Wolf star Dylan O’Brien.
When American Assassin was first advertised I was understandably cautious. The name itself was reminiscent of American Sniper and the associated islamophobic accusations it received. However, the good reviews I’d heard from friends and family made me give it a chance and I’m glad that I did.
Action films often fall into those terrible traps of over-choreographed fight scenes with an invulnerable hero figure and nauseatingly predictable love interests. The damsel in distress is a trope of action movies that is particularly irritating. However, American Assassin provided fight scenes that kept me engaged with their open possibility for real harm to come to the protagonist. Dylan O’Brien’s character Mitch Rapp was believable in his humanity and his fallible personality. He wasn’t the Jason Bourne-esque super fighter, but rather a man made determined by enduring something truly horrific. Despite his vendetta towards terrorist cells, there is a pointed lack of overt racism which was honestly a breath of fresh air.
Another strength was its relevance: In today’s political climate the threat of extremists is at the forefront of our minds. The opening scene of this movie is painfully familiar in that it is reminiscent of the 2015 mass-shooting at Port El Kantaoui in Tunisia. I watched the entire film with wide open fascination and found myself physically reacting to certain scenes. Not for the squeamish, the age rating of 18 is definitely warranted in some of its most graphic scenes. However, the violence wasn’t gratuitous and played a vital part in creating a visceral response in the audience. Despite the ridiculous amount of times I physically flinched and hid behind my hands, I believe it furthered the plot line instead of it being pointless violence.
All in all, I’d recommend going to see this film. It’s a great quality action/adventure film with an engaging plot, interesting camera angles, and surprisingly humorous moments that provide the needed levity. There’s also the added benefit of gratuitous shirtless Dylan O’Brien.
(Image courtesy of Rex/Shutterstock)